Have you ever thought about preserving your garden greenery with glycerine so you can use it later on in the year in your flower arrangements? Some fleshy sedum, a stem of oak, fatsia japonica, a stem of laurel and some bay? When you are choosing your greenery you need to make sure it's quite robust. Pick it in the height of the summer at the height of the season.
Make sure any new growth has hardened off so you don't get ends which will flop over. What you then need to do is take a bottle of glycerine. Dilute it with one part glycerine and two parts of boiling water. Pour it into a vase, or any container really – you need to make sure it's heat resistant so it doesn't crack when you add in that really hot boiling water and then you mix the two together and then with your stems – as if you were arranging flowers in fresh water – re-cut the stems and put them in water so they can take up the mixture in their own time.
The reason you should pick quite a narrow necked vase is because, if you put a pint of liquid in a very wide container, your pint will stretch out to a shallow level. You want something that's reasonably tall and slim so your pint has a good depth in the vase. If your stems of greenery can reach down to the bottom of a good depth of water, over time your greenery will start to take up the glycerine. It will change from the natural greens through to brown pale browns, mahogany/brown.
You'll need to keep an eye on that as it happens. It's quite exciting to watch the greenery change over time. Sometimes it might work, sometimes it doesn't work, it's one of those things. Trial and error. The key tips for glycerine-ing are one part glycerine to two parts boiling water, re cut the stems, use a narrow vase, so you can have sufficient depth for your plant material to take up the water. Make sure you're cropping your greenery in the height of summer.
You're preserving what you've got in abundance in the summer, so you can use it during the autumn/winter months. This will take perhaps up to two weeks to preserve. You need to keep a watching eye on it and enjoy it changing in colour and texture for the texture to become slightly more leathery and then once it's taken up the glycerine and changed colour, take the stems out of the vase. Allow them to dry out. Once you're sure they are really dry you would then pack them away … or use them. Check this site out for a variety of preserved flowers.